TAXI OPERATORS MUST BE INVOLVED IN TOTAL VALUE CHAIN

As South Africa progresses towards the implementation of the National Transport Master Plan (NATMAP) vision 2050, to transform and modernise the country’s transport sector it should not relegate the taxi industry to the periphery.

The National Department of Transport (NDoT) should lead the multi-stakeholder effort to find solutions to the myriad challenges facing the industry.

“There is need to increase cooperation and understanding with the taxi industry as it continues to be a crucial cog in the country’s transportation eco-system,” SATC 2017 resolved.

South Africa’s taxi industry – has a rather unfortunate reputation in South Africa, this is despite the fact that the sector transports over 20 million people every day, with an estimated annual revenue of R39.8 billion. There is no denying it, the taxi business is the ultimate consumer industry. (www.smesouthafrica.co.za)

The South African National Taxi council says that the taxi industry employs more than 600,000 people and transports 15 million commuters per day. The minibus taxi industry is believed to be serviced by as many as 300,000 vehicle, the majority of which are located in the country’s economic hub of Gauteng (www.businesstech.co.za)

The concern however, is that the industry is still largely unregulated, which leads to numerous issues including unlicensed vehicles, violence, and the general safety of commuters.

Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi alluded to the need to assist the taxi industry.

“We want to assist taxi operators to participate in the total value chain and wealth creation of the industry, by assisting them to obtain access to taxi Vehicle Finance from South Africa’s mainstream banks and the State Development Finance Institutions,” he said.

The Minister added that NDoT had finalised the process of reviewing the impact and performance of the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme (TRP).

Delegated said promoting the taxi industry held a number of scientific, social and political opportunities for the country.

Scientific, state-of-the-art research already attempts to incorporate the behaviour of taxi operators in agent-based transport planning models. Social and political awareness and appreciation needs to be created to increase the accessibility of the minibus taxi industry and lower the barrier to entry. In South Africa, decision makers need to change their attitudes towards paratransit. Many low-income earners remain on the periphery of large metropolitan areas and require low-cost transport services.